Planning the conservation of the breeding population of cinereous vultures Aegypius monachus in the Republic of Georgia
Occupied and potential nesting areas of Near Threatened cinereous vulture Aegypius monachus in the Republic of Georgia were examined to model its nesting habitat. The intention is to support its conservation within the context of the ongoing establishment of a system of protected areas. Data were manipulated and analysed using a geographical information system, univariate statistical analysis and logistic regression. The best model suggested that in Georgia plots were more likely to contain a cinereous vulture nest if the slope was >30° and faced north, was situated in rugged terrain away from unprotected and populated areas, and was relatively dry. North-facing slopes were where suitable nest trees could be found, whereas ruggedness, protected areas and remoteness from populated areas made access to the nest trees by humans difficult. Low annual rainfall provided better soaring and breeding conditions. The model suggested that the breeding range of cinereous vulture in Georgia could expand if seasonal grazing, which is the primary source of disturbance, is properly managed. Because neither nesting places nor food availability appeared to be limiting, human disturbance and climate seem to best explain the current distribution of nesting cinereous vultures in Georgia, and probably elsewhere in the Caucasus.(Published Online January 19 2006)
(Received July 21 2004)
(Revised January 25 2005)
(Accepted April 22 2005)
Key Words: Aegypius monachus; cinereous vulture; Georgia; GIS; grazing; logistic regression; protected area.
c1 Correspondence: 3420, 16th St. NW#404 Washington, DC 20010, USA. E-mail email@example.com
p1 Also at: Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife, Tbilisi, The Republic of Georgia